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January 24, 2010 4:08 PM   Subscribe

What can I do to make my apartment more beautiful and interesting using items purchased from an art supply store?

I live in a big, ugly studio apartment in Korea, where there aren't a ton of inexpensive and modern options for home decor. I have nice blond wood floors, a bed with blue and white linens, and a really massive window that almost covers an entire wall. My aesthetic is sort of modern and eclectic, like the homes shown on Apartment Therapy.

Today I went to the art supply store and found four 2x3 sheets of textured decorated paper (in a wave design) in complementary colors (mustard, magenta, light green, brown). I hung them on one long wall at perfect intervals, which gave a nice gallery effect. I'm also going to tea-dye my lace (ugh) curtains. I have access to Muji and some imported Ikea, and I might go shopping for inexpensive art I can hang on another wall. But primarily I'm curious what other home decor could be fashioned from a regular art supply store. It has some but not a lot of decorative paper, and I'm not a good artist but I can follow craft directions.

I have looked through decor. I'm looking for mostly DIY crafty stuff.
posted by acidic to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The One Pretty Thing blog is a good resource for DIY tutorials, updated all the time. Search for paper, paint, etc. or something more specific (lamps) to browse all kinds of ideas.
posted by illenion at 4:27 PM on January 24, 2010

Best answer: If you want some crafty inspiration/instructions, here's the home decor tag for CRAFT blog.

I recently reproduced this with a floral/insect motif art paper, and it's so awesome. Functional (organizing tiny stuff is a big challenge) and pretty. Just thought I'd throw it out there; was very easy to do, and you mentioned art paper.
You could have lots of fun covering small ikea things with art paper. I recently did a Benjamin stool over with tiny foil circles that looked like scales. All you need to do is prime and then use mod podge to glue, and acrylic spray to seal.

Here's the Home Sweet Home forum on Craftster.

I enjoy browsing etsy for ideas. Try the Housewares section?
posted by mostlybecky at 4:39 PM on January 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

IKEA fabric is great for decorating. I bought a few yards of two variations of the same fabric. I stretched one variation across a 6.5'x4' frame I made myself out of wood from the hardware store and used it to cover one wall. I also made a small curtain for the window on the door out of this fabric. Then I found a bunch of funky frames (you could use art store frames), painted then all the color of the first fabric variation, and framed the second variation of fabric in these frames. It looks pretty awesome.
posted by emilyd22222 at 4:40 PM on January 24, 2010

Pre-made picture frames are your friends, particularly ones that hang on the wall. You can turn anything pretty and flat into art if you put it in a frame and hang it up. Choose nice frames, and possibly invest in a mat cutter and some nicely-colored mat board to go behind your pretty things in the frames.

Ask an assistant for help if you need to figure out how to mount the pretty things to the mat board so it doesn't slide down to the bottom of the frame.
posted by amtho at 5:23 PM on January 24, 2010

Best answer: I used to live with a lesbian couple in college who decided instead of going out to the bars and spending too much money on drinks that they were going to start spending Friday and Saturday nights at the apartment painting. They bought a bunch of canvases stretched over wooden frames (they were really cheap ... like less than $3 for an 8" x 10" canvas) and some acrylic paints and brushes and painted a bunch of mini paintings. One of them loved to paint real-life things like guitars and guns shooting flowers and doves, and the other was more into abstract stuff and painted a bunch of random shapes of different colors. After that our apartment looked so freaking awesome! So much color and no more boring white walls. You could paint a bunch with similar colors if you have a theme. Even someone with limited artistic abilities can throw some lines and shapes and swirls on canvas and make a not-half-bad piece of art.
posted by kthxbi at 5:51 PM on January 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

I saw this on some British decorating show once... put some lace over a mirror and spray paint. When you remove the lace, it leaves a beautiful pattern.
posted by roxie5 at 5:58 PM on January 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: here are some instructions for basic projects you can do with stretched canvas and acrylic paint (and some other stuff).

(disclaimer: i own an art supply store, we sell products from the site linked.)
posted by jimw at 8:41 PM on January 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

Ooh ooh! Tissue paper flowers! Perhaps you won't find them as exciting as I did when I saw a group of them (blue, pink, white, and red) clustered above my friend's bed in London but she must wake up every morning with a faceful of what looks like a burst of carnations and how awesome is that?
posted by Devika at 11:06 PM on January 24, 2010

Also, she said they were incredibly easy to make - she improvised from her memory of Martha's instructions and just frayed the edges of the tissue paper sheets, bundled them up, wrapped some wire around the end, and taped them to the wall. At least that's my vague recollection of the procedure.
posted by Devika at 11:08 PM on January 24, 2010

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